Tags Posts tagged with "Scams"

Scams

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PSEG Long Island employees will never insist and in most cases do not need to come inside

In light of a recent home invasion incident in Nassau County involving robbers dressed as utility workers, PSEG Long Island urges customers to know what its employees look like and what they typically do when making visits to a home.

“The safety of customers and employees is our top priority at PSEG Long Island,” said Lou Debrino, vice president of Customer Operations for PSEG Long Island. “In most cases, PSEG Long Island employees do not need to come inside your home to perform their work. Most meters are located outside, as is most of the electric equipment our company maintains. Our employees always wear their PSEG Long Island ID cards. Never open the door if you have any suspicion that the person knocking is not a legitimate PSEG Long Island employee.”

In-person visits

Occasionally, scammers may go door to door impersonating PSEG Long Island employees, flashing a fake ID and/or claiming to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information, which real utility representatives do not do, or offer bogus discounts.

PSEG Long Island employees must carry a company ID and present it when requested. If customers have doubts, they should not open the door. An actual PSEG Long Island employee will respect the customer’s decision and remain outside. If the person escalates their efforts to enter the home, customers should consider calling 911.

Phone scammers

Scammers are still using phone calls to target homes and businesses on Long Island and in the Rockaways, impersonating PSEG Long Island and area utilities and demanding immediate payment for supposed unpaid bills. PSEG Long Island reminds customers do the right thing if confronted with a demand for payment and a threat of imminent shutoff: Get the truth from real PSEG Long Island representatives at 1-800-490-0025.

Many of these scammers demand immediate payment via web-based electronic payment services. PSEG Long Island does not accept external, web-based electronic payment services (outside of payments through My Account) as a method of payment.

What customers should know about payment scams

  • Scammers impersonating PSEG Long Island most frequently threaten to shut off power immediately unless payment is made.
  • Many scammers use phone “spoofing” technology to make their number display on your phone as “PSEG Long Island.”
  • PSEG Long Island will never request that customers use one specific method of payment.
  • Scammers typically want their victims to transfer money via a web-based electronic payment service, a prepaid debit card, or even Bitcoin, sometimes asking people to buy a prepaid card at the nearest convenience store and then to read them the PIN over the phone.
  • PSEG Long Island does not accept web-based electronic payment services, prepaid debit cards or Bitcoin as payment.
  • Sometimes phone scammers will demand a deposit for a priority meter installation. PSEG Long Island does not require a deposit for meter installations.
  • If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — they should call the company directly at 1-800-490-0025.

Fake websites

Some scammers purchase web domains that closely resemble the actual URL of a utility and create a fraudulent replica of the legitimate website. Their plan is to dupe users who click on these fake sites via search results, or type in an inaccurate web address. Once on the spoofed site, a visitor is presented a number of bill payment options, all pointing back to an outside bill pay site.

PSEG Long Island always uses the “.com” domain. Its real website, including PSEG Long Island-hosted online payment options, can be found at psegliny.com.

Other scammers contact customers, claim to be with PSEG Long Island, demand payment and then instruct their victims to pay by scanning a QR code they send. Customers should remember that PSEG Long Island will never request that customers use one specific method of payment, and does not accept web-based electronic payment services, prepaid debit cards or Bitcoin as payment.

How actual PSEG Long Island reps handle phone calls

Customers should also know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the customer of record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.

If the customer of record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account and ask that a message be left for the customer of record to call 1-800-490-0025.

PSEG Long Island is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. UUAS, a consortium of more than 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, continues to raise customer awareness of common scams and new scam tactics used by utility impostors. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully helped to take more than 14,020 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers out of operation.

For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/scamsandfraud.

As we usher in the new year with hope and optimism, it is disheartening to shed light on an incident that occurred in the heart of our community. A distressing episode unfolded where a local business, under the guise of addressing an alleged violation, nearly fell victim to a scam that asked for money to be electronically sent to the imposter.

This incident serves as a stark reminder that despite our tight-knit community, scams can find their way into our lives, preying on our trust and familiarity. It is imperative that we, as a community, stay vigilant and informed to protect ourselves and our neighbors from falling victim to such deceitful tactics.

First and foremost, it is essential to note that our local authorities are working diligently to investigate this incident, though we must also be proactive in safeguarding our community.

In an era where technology connects us in unprecedented ways, it has also paved the way for scammers to exploit our sense of trust. We must exercise caution and skepticism, especially when faced with unexpected requests for money or personal information.

It is incumbent upon each of us to be the first line of defense against scams in our community. If you receive a call claiming to be from the police or any other authoritative figure, take a moment to verify their identity. Call the official number of your local precinct or the relevant agency to confirm the legitimacy of the request.

This incident serves as a wake-up call for us to be proactive in educating ourselves and our neighbors about potential scams. Spread the word, check in on local businesses and encourage everyone to report any suspicious activity. Together, we can build a shield of awareness that safeguards our community from falling prey to such malicious schemes.

As we navigate the challenges of the digital age, let us fortify our community against those who seek to exploit our trust. By standing together and staying informed, we can ensure that our community remains a haven of safety, trust and resilience.

METRO photo.

An anonymous caller posing as a member of the Port Jeff Village code enforcement targeted a local business Jan. 4, demanding immediate payment for an alleged outstanding violation. The caller was reported to have requested the business to send money immediately electronically.

The village authorities were quick to respond to this scam, issuing a warning to all residents and local businesses. The affected business reported the fraudulent call on the morning of Jan. 5, prompting immediate action from code enforcement.

Port Jefferson Village code enforcement chief Andy Owen emphasized in a statement that the village officers “will never call your business demanding money.” He urged residents and businesses to remain vigilant. 

“We want to assure and alert the community that this is, in fact, a scam, and we are actively working to prevent further incidents,” Owen said in a statement to the community.

The village code enforcement team is collaborating with Suffolk County Police Department to investigate the matter thoroughly. Anyone who receives suspicious calls or demands for immediate payment is urged to report them immediately to both Suffolk police and the village Code Enforcement Bureau.

In light of this incident, the community is advised to be cautious of unsolicited calls, especially those demanding immediate payments. The Port Jeff Village code enforcement team is actively working on increasing awareness and implementing measures to prevent such scams in the future.

With the increased presence of technology in our communities, scams of all kinds are on the rise. According to TechReport, “Daily, one out of every 10 calls is a scam call.” Additionally, TechReport statistics reveal that scam calls increase by the year. From the source’s scam call trend, there was an increase of 118% in 2021 from 2020.

Suffolk County residents are reporting increased scam calls, with fraudsters employing tactics such as posing as utility companies, enforcement authorities or even distant relatives in distress. The rise in these deceptive practices has prompted local authorities to collaborate with telecommunications providers to explore ways to combat and trace these illicit activities.

In lieu of the recent uptick in reported scams, New York State Attorney General Letitia James (D) issued an alert advising residents to take the following precautions to safeguard themselves from falling victim to scams:

Never give your personal or financial information to someone who calls you. Think of the phone as a “one-way street” — only give out personal information if you made the call. Be sure to verify that the phone number is legitimate.

Don’t engage the caller. Scammers can manipulate caller ID so that it appears to be an “official” call or a call from your city or town. Only answer calls when you recognize the number. If you do answer, hang up if it seems like a scam, or consider using a call-blocking app.

Government agencies usually reach out to you in writing. A government agency will not call you, threaten your arrest or demand payment. 

Residents and business owners are urged to report any suspicious calls or demands to the authorities. 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk police commissioner Rodney Harrison. File photo

The Suffolk County Police Department is reminding residents to be vigilant of scammers looking to profit during the holiday season.

Criminals are constantly looking for new opportunities to prey on people for financial gain, and the holidays are traditionally a time when people are preoccupied and could fall victim to a scam.

Scammers are also increasingly turning to artificial intelligence “spoofing” tools to clone the voices of individuals who post on social media. Scammers use those cloned voices to create a script to call a family member of the person whose voice was cloned in hopes of convincing an unsuspecting victim to send money.

An 85-year-old Hauppauge man received a call from an individual utilizing artificial intelligence voice change who claimed to be his granddaughter and stated she was arrested and needed $19,000 in bail money. Her grandfather met an individual two separate times on November 9 and turned over the requested cash.

During another recent scam, a 70-year-old Smithtown woman spoke to an individual purporting to be an Amazon representative, claiming someone was attempting to use her bank account to buy electronics. The woman was told since her bank account was compromised, she should turn over her cash to keep it safe. The victim made three separate withdrawals totaling more than $100,000, and the cash was then picked up by the same man on three different dates. 

Following the withdrawals, the victim was advised to purchase gold coins at a pawn shop with a personal check of $94,000. After doing so, she sent a photo of the receipt to the suspect, who would then pick up the coins when ready.

While these cases both remain under investigation, it is a reminder of how convincing scammers can be. Financial Crime Unit detectives are providing free scam prevention presentations to community groups and senior centers in an effort to educate the public. Additionally, the department has created safety tip flyers in multiple languages to ensure the message is being received by all residents.

As a reminder, people should be wary of individuals claiming:

• To be part of a legitimate organization that you are familiar with.

• There is a problem or a prize.

• A family member is injured or in jail.

• You need to act immediately or threaten your safety.

• Payment must be made in a specific form, i.e. cash, Venmo etc.

“Residents need to be aware of individuals that are looking to take advantage of the generosity of others during this time of year,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “We strongly encourage the public to educate themselves and be cognizant of such operations that are prevalent during the holiday season so that they are protected from scammers.”

“We are reminding residents to resist the urge to act immediately,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison said. “Before sending money, speak to a trusted family member or call police. No legitimate company makes threats or demands cash.”

If you are interested in a prevention seminar or obtaining safety tips, contact the department’s Financial Crimes Unit at 631-852-6821.

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Image from PSEG LI

For a short, informational PSEG Long Island video on utility scams, click here.

Autumn’s cool temperatures and wet weather are in full effect, but scammers are still putting the heat on homes and businesses on Long Island and in the Rockaways, impersonating PSEG Long Island and area utilities and demanding immediate payment. On Utility Scam Awareness Day, Nov. 15, PSEG Long Island urges customers to get wise to scammers’ tactics and do the right thing if confronted with a demand for payment and a threat of imminent shutoff: Get the truth from the real PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025.

“Scammers try to blindside you with an urgent problem in the hopes that you panic and miss all the clues that they’re not who they appear to be,” said Lou DeBrino, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services. “PSEG Long Island wants customers to remember one simple thing: If someone threatens to immediately shut off your power and demands payment, stop and call the number that’s printed on your bill to verify before acting.”

More than 4,200 scam calls have been reported to PSEG Long Island so far in 2023. Many of these scammers are demanding immediate payment via web-based electronic payment services. PSEG Long Island does not accept external, web-based electronic payment services (outside of payments through My Account) as a method of payment.

What customers should know about payment scams

  • Scammers impersonating PSEG Long Island most frequently threaten to shut off power immediately unless payment is made.
  • Many scammers use phone “spoofing” technology to make their number display on your phone as “PSEG Long Island.”
  • PSEG Long Island will never request that customers use one specific method of payment.
  • Scammers typically want their victims to transfer money via a web-based electronic payment service, a prepaid debit card, or even Bitcoin, sometimes asking people to buy a prepaid card at the nearest convenience store and then to read them the PIN over the phone.
  • PSEG Long Island does not accept web-based electronic payment services, prepaid debit cards or Bitcoin as payment.
  • Sometimes phone scammers will demand a deposit for a priority meter installation. PSEG Long Island does not require a deposit for meter installations.
  • If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — they should call the company directly at 1-800-490-0025.

In-person visits

Occasionally, scammers may go door to door impersonating PSEG Long Island employees, flashing a fake ID and/or claiming to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information, which real utility representatives do not do, or offer bogus discounts. Again, if customers have any doubts, they should not let the person in, and should call 1-800-490-0025 to verify.

PSEG Long Island employees must carry a company ID and present it when requested. If customers have doubts, do not let the person into the house and call 1-800-490-0025 to have a customer service representative verify that an employee has been dispatched to the location. An actual PSEG Long Island employee will respect the customer’s decision and remain outside. If the person escalates their efforts to enter the home, customers should consider calling 911.

Fake websites

The theme of this year’s Utility Scam Awareness Day is “Screen the Search,” which reflects the rise in utility impostor scams through digital methods, including search engine-related scams.

Some scammers purchase web domains that closely resemble the actual URL of a utility and create a fraudulent replica of the legitimate website. Their plan is to dupe users who click on these fake sites via search results, or type in an inaccurate web address. Once on the spoofed site, a visitor is presented a number of bill payment options, all pointing back to an outside bill pay site.

PSEG Long Island always uses the “.com” domain. Its real website can be found at www.psegliny.com.

How actual PSEG Long Island reps handle phone calls

Customers should also know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the Customer of Record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.

If the Customer of Record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the Customer of Record to call 1-800-490-0025.

PSEG Long Island is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. UUAS, a consortium of more than 150 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, continues to raise customer awareness of common scams and new scam tactics used by utility impostors. Through its work and with the help of customer reporting, UUAS has successfully helped to take more than 14,020 toll-free numbers used by scammers against utility customers out of operation.

For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/scamsandfraud.

Brandpoint photo

You may have heard about older adults being tricked into sending money to someone they think is a grandchild or other relative in trouble and thought to yourself, “How could anyone fall for that?” But the truth is, today’s advanced technology makes it easier than ever for scammers to trick their unsuspecting and well-meaning victims.

To protect yourself, it pays to understand how fraudsters work, what red flags to look for, and how to trust your instincts so you don’t end up on the losing end of one of these vicious scams.

How grandparent scams work

Scammers prey on kind-hearted victims by convincing people their grandchild or other relative has had an accident or is in some kind of legal or financial trouble. The scammers then plead for money to get them out of the “jam.”

For years, criminals have been able to gather facts and personal information from people’s social media accounts to contact their older relatives. Once the criminals contact older relatives via text, email or phone, the criminals can sound very convincingly like a relative in dire trouble.

The A.I. twist

Because of advances in artificial intelligence (A.I.), criminals can now make their pleas for cash sound even more convincing when calling on the phone. According to the Federal Trade Commission, these scammers use A.I. voice cloning software to mimic your relative’s voice by pulling the audio from their social media videos.

Unfortunately, scammers often couple this tactic with a “spoofed” phone number that shows up on your caller ID with your relative’s name, so it looks like it’s really them calling you.

How to spot red flags

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent criminals from stealing from you. The United States Postal Inspection Service® recommends a few simple steps to avoid being taken by this extremely vicious scam:

* Late-night calls. Scammers often call victims in the middle of the night, hoping to catch you when you’re not fully awake and less likely to think clearly. If that happens to you, tell them you’ll call them right back. You can then take the time to fully wake up, gather your wits and contact your grandchild or relative via the method you usually use to talk to them. Do not return the call you just received.

* Urgent pleas for money. Be suspicious of any phone calls including requests for money, even if it sounds like someone you know. Scammers use fear to get you worried about your loved one, so you won’t take the time to think things through. If someone asks for money right away, hang up. Contact your loved one the way you usually contact them, and/or check with other trusted family members first.

* Requests for odd methods of payment. If you’re asked to send money using methods like a mobile payment app, mailing cash, wiring money, sending gift cards or money orders, or other unusual payment methods, hang up. Once money is sent using these methods, there’s no way to get it back. If you are asked to meet somewhere so you can give them cash in person, hang up and report the incident to law enforcement.

If you’ve been affected by crime that involves the U.S. Mail®, contact the United States Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455 or report it online at USPIS.gov/report. If you think you’ve been targeted by a grandparent scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 888-225-5322, or visit ConsumerComplaints.FCC.gov.

Learn more about elder fraud at USPIS.gov.

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METRO photo

This year, March 5-11 marks National Consumer Protection Week, and PSEG Long Island urges customers to understand scammers’ tactics and do the right thing if confronted with a demand for payment and a threat of imminent shutoff: Get the truth from the real PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025.

“Consumer Protection Week is a time to help people understand their consumer rights and avoid frauds and scams. PSEG Long Island wants customers to remember one simple thing: If someone threatens to immediately shut off your power, call the number that’s printed on your bill to verify before acting,” said Lou DeBrino, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services. “Scammers do everything they can to create the impression of an urgent problem in the hopes that you panic and miss all the clues that they’re not who they appear to be. Please be alert to the possibility of a scam, take a moment to think, and then contact us directly using the phone number on your bill if you’re still not sure.”

More than 2,500 scam calls were reported to PSEG Long Island in 2022. Many of these scammers are demanding immediate payment via web-based electronic payment services. PSEG Long Island does not accept external, web-based electronic payment services (outside of payments through MyAccount) as a method of payment.

What customers should know about payment scams

  • Scammers impersonating PSEG Long Island most frequently threaten to shut off power immediately unless payment is made.
  • Many scammers use phone “spoofing” technology to make their number display on your phone as “PSEG Long Island.”
  • PSEG Long Island will never request that customers use one specific method of payment.
  • Scammers typically want their victims to transfer money via a web-based electronic payment service, a prepaid debit card, or even Bitcoin, sometimes asking people to buy a prepaid card at the nearest convenience store and then to read them the PIN over the phone.
  • PSEG Long Island does not accept web-based electronic payment services, prepaid debit cards or Bitcoin as payment.
  • Sometimes phone scammers will demand a deposit for a priority meter installation. PSEG Long Island does not require a deposit for meter installations.
  • If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — they should call the company directly at 1-800-490-0025.

In-person visits

Occasionally, scammers may go door to door impersonating PSEG Long Island employees, flashing a fake ID and/or claiming to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information, which real utility representatives do not do, or offer bogus discounts. Again, if customers have any doubts, they should not let the person in, and should call 1-800-490-0025 to verify.

PSEG Long Island employees must carry a company ID and present it when requested. If customers have doubts, do not let the person into the house and call 1-800-490-0025 to have a customer service representative verify that an employee has been dispatched to the location. An actual PSEG Long Island employee will respect the customer’s decision and remain outside. If the person escalates their efforts to enter the home, customers should consider calling 911.

Fake websites

Some scammers purchase web domains that closely resemble the actual URL of a utility and create a fraudulent replica of the legitimate website. Their plan is to dupe users who click on these fake sites via search results, or type in an inaccurate web address. Once on the spoofed site, a visitor is presented a number of bill payment options, all pointing back to an outside bill pay site.

PSEG Long Island always uses the “.com” domain. Its real website can be found at www.psegliny.com.

How actual PSEG Long Island reps handle phone calls

Customers should also know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the Customer of Record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.

If the Customer of Record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the Customer of Record to call 1-800-490-0025.

PSEG Long Island is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. UUAS, a consortium of more than 145 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, has helped to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.

For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/scamsandfraud.

Photo from PSEG Long Island Facebook

Customers should think twice if someone calls and threatens to immediately shut off their power

Just like the summer itself, scammers are turning up the heat, pretending to be PSEG Long Island or impersonating prominent area utilities, and threatening to turn off service for nonpayment. PSEG Long Island urges customers to understand scammers’ tactics and do the right thing if confronted with a demand for payment: Get the truth from the real PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025.

“Scammers do their best to create the impression of an urgent problem in the hopes that your panic will prevent you from seeing all the clues that they’re not who they appear to be,” said Rick Walden, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services. “PSEG Long Island wants customers to know the signs, take a moment to think, and then contact us directly using the number on their bill if they’re still not sure.”

More than 1,400 scam calls have been reported to PSEG Long Island so far in 2022. Many of these scammers are demanding immediate payment via web-based electronic payment services. PSEG Long Island does not accept web-based electronic payment services as a method of payment.

What customers should know about payment scams

  • Scammers impersonating PSEG Long Island most frequently threaten to shut off power immediately unless payment is made.
  • Many scammers use phone “spoofing” technology to make their number display on your phone as “PSEG Long Island.”
  • PSEG Long Island will never request that customers use one specific method of payment.
  • Scammers typically want their victims to transfer money via a web-based electronic payment service, a prepaid debit card, or even Bitcoin, sometimes asking people to buy a prepaid card at the nearest convenience store and then to read them the PIN over the phone.
  • PSEG Long Island does not accept web-based electronic payment services, prepaid debit cards or Bitcoin as payment.
  • Sometimes phone scammers will demand a deposit for a priority meter installation. PSEG Long Island does not require a deposit for meter installations.
  • If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — they should call the company directly at 1-800-490-0025.

What customers should know about shutoffs

  • On July 12, after more than two years of suspending service shutoffs due to a pandemic-related state of emergency, PSEG Long Island resumed service shutoffs for accounts that do not respond to repeated efforts to establish a payment agreement.
  • Shutoff of service for nonpayment is a last resort that only occurs after PSEG Long Island makes multiple efforts to contact and help the customer.
  • Customers with unpaid balances who do not already have a deferred payment agreement should call 1-800-490-0025 so PSEG Long Island can assist them.
  • If previous outreach efforts are unsuccessful, a PSEG Long Island representative will make a final attempt to contact the customer of record, in person, to accept a payment and avoid a shutoff.
  • When service is terminated, a service suspension notice will be left at the location with instructions on how to work with PSEG Long Island to reconnect.

In-person visits

Occasionally, scammers may go door to door impersonating PSEG Long Island employees, flashing a fake ID and/or claiming to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information, which real utility representatives do not do, or offer bogus discounts. Again, if customers have any doubts, they should not let the person in, and should call 1-800-490-0025 to verify.

PSEG Long Island employees must carry a company ID and present it when requested. If customers have doubts, do not let the person into the house and call 1-800-490-0025 to have a customer service representative verify that an employee has been dispatched to the location. An actual PSEG Long Island employee will respect the customer’s decision and remain outside. If the person escalates their efforts to enter the home, customers should consider calling 911.

Fake websites

Some scammers purchase web domains that closely resemble the actual URL of a utility and create a fraudulent replica of the legitimate website. Their plan is to dupe users who click on these fake sites via search results, or type in an inaccurate web address. Once on the spoofed site, a visitor is presented a number of bill payment options, all pointing back to an outside bill pay site.

PSEG Long Island always uses the “.com” domain. Its real website can be found at www.psegliny.com.

How actual PSEG Long Island reps handle phone calls

Customers should also know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the Customer of Record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.

If the Customer of Record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the Customer of Record to call 1-800-490-0025.

PSEG Long Island is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. UUAS, a consortium of more than 145 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, has helped to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.

For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/scamsandfraud.

METRO photo
PSEG Long Island urges customers to think twice if someone threatens to immediately shut off their power

On Consumer Protection Week, PSEG Long Island urges customers to understand the ways scammers impersonate utility employees to trick customers out of their money.

“While we are all looking forward to brighter days ahead, the pandemic has created lingering financial hardship for many, many people, and that is a target-rich environment for scammers,” said Rick Walden, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services. “They like to create the impression of an urgent problem in the hopes that your panic will prevent you from seeing all the clues that they’re not who they appear to be. PSEG Long Island wants customers to know the signs, take a moment to think, and then contact us directly using the number on their bill if they’re still not sure.”

Some 4,150 scam calls were reported to PSEG Long Island in 2021, down considerably from the more than 5,900 calls customers reported to the company in 2020.

What customers should know about payment scams

  • Scammers impersonating PSEG Long Island most frequently threaten to shut off power immediately unless payment is made.
  • Many scammers use phone “spoofing” technology to make their number display on your phone as “PSEG Long Island.”
  • PSEG Long Island will never request that customers use one specific method of payment.
  • Scammers typically want their victims to transfer money via a web-based electronic payment service, a prepaid debit card, or even Bitcoin, sometimes asking people to buy a prepaid card at the nearest convenience store and then to read them the PIN over the phone.
  • PSEG Long Island does not accept web-based electronic payment services, prepaid debit cards or Bitcoin as payment.
  • Sometimes phone scammers will demand a deposit for a priority meter installation. PSEG Long Island does not require a deposit for meter installations.
  • If a customer has doubts about the legitimacy of a call or an email — especially one in which payment is requested — call the company directly at 1-800-490-0025.

In-person visits

Occasionally, scammers may go door to door impersonating PSEG Long Island employees, flashing a fake ID and/or claiming to be a utility collection representative. The impostors may wear “uniforms” or affix false company signs to their vehicles. The scammers generally ask for personal information, which real utility representatives do not do, or offer bogus discounts. Again, if customers have any doubts, they should not let the person in, and should call 1-800-490-0025 to verify.

PSEG Long Island employees must carry a company ID and present it when requested. If customers have doubts, do not let the person into the house. Call PSEG Long Island at 1-800-490-0025 and a customer service representative will gladly verify if an employee has been dispatched to the location.

Fake websites

Some scammers purchase web domains that closely resemble the actual URL of a utility and create a fraudulent replica of the legitimate website. Their plan is to dupe users who click on these fake sites via search results, or type in an inaccurate web address. Once on the spoofed site, a visitor is presented a number of bill payment options, all pointing back to an outside bill pay site.

PSEG Long Island always uses the “.com” domain. Its real website can be found at www.psegliny.com.

How actual PSEG Long Island reps handle phone calls

Customers should also know what PSEG Long Island will and won’t discuss over the phone. A genuine PSEG Long Island representative will ask to speak to the Customer of Record. If that person is available, the representative will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the person on the phone does not provide the correct information, it is likely the customer is not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.

If the Customer of Record is not available, the PSEG Long Island representative will not discuss the account at all and ask that a message be left for the Customer of Record to call 1-800-490-0025.

PSEG Long Island is a member of the Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS) collaborative. UUAS, a consortium of more than 145 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities and their respective trade associations, has helped to create awareness of common and new scam tactics and to cease operations of nearly 5,000 toll-free numbers used against utility customers by scammers.

For more information on various payment scams reported in the PSEG Long Island service area and around the country, visit https://www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/scamsandfraud.

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PSEG Long Island is alerting customers about scams from people impersonating employees and demanding immediate payment.

The utility said scammers contacted more than 500 customers between Dec. 20 and Jan. 2, alleging overdue balanced and threatening to cut off power.

PSEG said some scammers have used a standard tactic of asking customers to buy a prepaid debit card, such as Green Dot, to pay for their alleged overdue bill, while others demanded payment through Zelle, an online fund transfer platform.

PSEG LI, however, offers numerous payment options and does not accept prepaid debit cards or Zelle.

“Somebody represents themselves as one of our employees, states that the customer is in arrears [and] gives them a couple of hours to get some pressure going,” said Robert Vessichelli, senior security investigator for PSEG Long Island. “They say they are going to cut power in a matter of two hours.”

Phone scammers, who have typically come from out of the country in places like India and the Dominican Republic, had started off by targeting mostly commercial accounts, Vessichelli said. Usually, people running a business may have an administrator paying their bills and they may not be sure if their advisor or accountant made payment.

“They are more vulnerable, especially people who deal with perishable goods” because losing power could have dramatic consequences on their business, Vessichelli said.

More recently, scammers have targeted a geographic area, as PSEG has collected numerous calls from the same neighborhoods.

The money scammers request is usually an odd number, such as $498.95. Some of the people scammed have paid as much as over $5,000. The average scam payment is closer to $500.

Some of these scams encourage people to send money several times, claiming that the funds never transferred. In one case, Vessichelli said the scammers received money three times, each time making a phony promise that they would return overpaid funds.

Vessichelli warned customers not to rely on caller ID because some of these scammers spoof the number and identification to make it look like PSEG is calling.

Since August of 2013, the number of people who have reported scam calls or visits is 23,326, with about 1,194 people, or 5.1%, falling victim to these efforts.

In 2013, the percentage of people who paid these fraudulent claims was over 10 percent, but that number has fallen as the company has made a concerted effort to educate consumers.

“We would never make a phone call and say, ‘We’re going to cut your service off in two hours,’” Vessichelli said. “That’s not the procedure we use. We would contact people numerous times and try to give them a payment agreement. “

The company also said it had suspended electrical cut off for non-payment during the pandemic.

In addition to the calls, some scammers show up at people’s doors and even wear clothing with the PSEG emblem and have the company name on their cars.

The people who come to the door sometimes work with a partner who searches the house for jewelry, cash or other valuables, while someone allegedly checks electrical equipment or the meter.

Vessichelli urged customers concerned about an unannounced visit from someone claiming to be from PSEG to call the company to confirm that the person is a legitimate employee. The number to call is (800) 490-0025. Customers can also call that number to check on the validity of a call they suspect may be a scam.

Vessichelli said PSEG has had occasion to knock on customers’ doors in case of a temporary outage or other problem. If customers prefer to call the company before allowing anyone entry in their houses, the technician can wait.

Customers have received calls from people claiming that they owe money for a deposit for priority meter installation. PSEG said customers are not required to pay a deposit for such installations.

PSEG said customers can recognize a scammer because he or she may ask for email for payment in prepaid debit cards or a MoneyGram transfer, or to send money to an out-of-state address.

PSEG urged customers not to arrange payment or reveal account information or personal information, such as social security numbers or credit or debit card numbers, over the phone.

Genuine PSEG representatives will explain why they are calling and provide the account name, address and current balance. If the information is incorrect, the customer is likely speaking with a scammer.